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    Latin Planning for Multiple Students (A Planning Post)

    June 17, 2015 by Brandy Vencel

    Language is a big area of weakness in our homeschool. It always has been, and I often fear it always will be. We started out with many weaknesses (of course!), but over the years we’ve added many of the things we were missing: folk songs, nature study, and so on. But language. I think the issue really is that I don’t know another language. I know some basic Spanish and that’s all. There is also the fact that Spanish doesn’t excite me, and I think we all know that a little motivation in the form of excitement or interest helps.

    2015 Planning Series Post 2 Latin Planning for Multiple Students

    This past year, I was really, really going to do better with Spanish. But then I didn’t. It was, in fact, the very first thing I cut whenever our time got cramped, and then eventually I forgot about it altogether.


    I’ve had a lot of people tell me not to worry because lots of kids don’t do language until they are in junior high or high school, but the truth is that Charlotte Mason spent a good deal of time on languages in the lower grades, and she’s one of the people I’m trying to imitate.

    The only good news in this ongoing problem here at our house is that I love Latin.

    I mean: truly love.

    I actually spend some of my own precious spare time studying it, I love it so much.

    So, for this coming year, I’ve decided to try and leverage that.

    For the Younger Set

    Only my older daughter, A-Age-Ten, is the “right” age for Latin, but there is a sense in which she isn’t academically ready for more formal Latin study yet. After going around in circles over what to do about that, I decided to use something we already own: Song School Latin.

    I’m going to incorporate this into our morning Circle Time {I’ll post my full Circle Time plans later in the summer}. I’ll dismiss my oldest to his studies, and have all three of my other students {A-Age-Ten, Q-Age-Eight, and O-Age-Six} sing the songs together. Instead of making yet another attempt at Spanish, we’re just going to all do Latin.

    Only A-Age-Ten will be doing the book work, however. The other two will just be enjoying the songs and learning a bit of vocabulary. This will not solve all of my language issues, but it will actually get done, and those are the best sorts of plans.

    The Older Guy (I Can’t Keep Up)

    I very badly want to keep up with E-Age-Thirteen enough to be able to teach him, but the truth is that he is (1) able to spend more time studying Latin than I am and (2) better at it than I am. (Don’t tell him about number 2. Ahem.)

    I came to the conclusion at the end of this year that I was actually holding him back. His Latin journey has been a simple one. We started in Year Three with Song School Latin, more for fun than for any other reason. We started Year Four with Visual Latin, but quickly found that his complete lack of grammar knowledge was a problem, and so we dropped Latin and focused on English grammar for a term or two. Then, we started Visual Latin back up and it was a huge hit. We had so much fun with it that year.

    My son had a number of questions about Latin that I didn’t know how to answer, so I bought myself Henle’s First Year Latin, thinking that I would learn what I needed to know in order to help him. He very quickly stole my books. So for part of sixth grade and all of seventh grade, he used Compass Classroom’s free guide in order to combine Visual Latin with Henle Latin and get the best of both worlds.

    Which brings us to now.

    I decided at the end of this year (he just finished Year Seven) that my son needs a Latin tutor — someone who actually knows more than him. After asking around both locally and online, I sent a desperate email to Cindy Rollins, who asked me why my son wasn’t going to take the live online classes with Dwane Thomas, since we had already done Visual Latin.

    Um. Because I didn’t know such a thing existed!

    And so, I signed him up for the online Lingua Latina class. He is over the moon excited. He’s not very expressive, so you wouldn’t know it by looking at his face, but I’m his mother, so I know.

    The class description says to be prepared to devote an hour per day to Latin. That is a lot more than we are used to {double}, but he tells me he’s ready and willing to do this because he wants so badly to master Latin.

    So that’s the plan. We’re all doing Latin this year.

    I’m happy with the plans, and I’ll be even happier if I’m able to sit in on Son E’s Latin classes!

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  • Reply Cassie June 19, 2015 at 9:24 am

    Same problem here with foreign language! I bought a Latin program for my 11 yo to start. My 14 yo wants to do Spanish. I’m struggling with this since I don’t want to teach it. Our local homeschool group has a native French speaker doing classes this year but he wasn’t interested. 🙁 I even have considered letting him take a Spanish class at the local high school. I just can’t imagine committing to a daily class outside the home. I also got poor reviews for the teacher, lol! (Not sure if it could be any worse than not having a teacher or one who doesn’t know Spanish!) It’s still up on the air. I looked at some online classes and the price is what is stopping me. In doing some research I learned a children’s program for Spanish is the same as the high school classes. It’s just the high school class moves faster and he would need to complete two levels of the children’s program. I’m looking at Classical Academic Press Spanish program. I could see this working for this year. I’m not sure where to go the next year. Lots to ponder! Hopefully my youngest will actually learn some Latin though!

    • Reply Amy June 19, 2015 at 9:43 am

      One of my boys is doing Getting Started with Spanish (audio lectures & pronunciation), the other is doing Easy Spanish Step by Step (no audio, sadly, but also inexpensive). They also have accounts on Duolingo. It’s not a live teacher, but it does get them going in Spanish inexpensively and independently (although I am available to help if needed).

    • Reply Brandy Vencel June 19, 2015 at 10:16 am

      For high school, I’ve considered using Learnables. A local gal I met, who speaks many languages herself, suggests it for high school credit in homeschooling. I don’t know anything about the method it uses, but it might be worth checking out. I thought about buying a Spanish class next year for high school, but then discovered that this was cheaper and could be used with all four of my students, so now I’m thinking about it…

  • Reply Claire June 18, 2015 at 8:10 pm

    Have you considered the ULAT for Spanish? – if our foreign language were on there, I’d be using it for sure…

    • Reply Brandy Vencel June 18, 2015 at 9:17 pm

      I have never even heard of ULAT before. Checking it out now…thanks for the suggestion, Claire! 🙂

  • Reply Julie Z June 18, 2015 at 12:40 pm

    My son took this course this past year with Dwayne Thomas. He had nowhere near an hour a day of homework. I would say maybe three hours a week tops.

    • Reply Amy June 18, 2015 at 9:05 pm

      That’s good to hear!

    • Reply Brandy Vencel June 18, 2015 at 9:17 pm

      Oh my goodness! That is so encouraging, Julie! Maybe he’s just trying to scare away the slackers on his website. 🙂

  • Reply Karen@The Simply Blog June 18, 2015 at 4:12 am

    I decided to go with Song School Latin for my youngest daughter this Fall. She’ll be in 2nd grade. She did Song School Spanish for 1st grade this year and loved the program. 🙂

    • Reply Brandy Vencel June 18, 2015 at 9:16 pm

      Song School Spanish! I just recently heard of that one. Part of my wanted to buy it, but then I thought another year of failing at Spanish might crush me completely. 🙁

  • Reply Amanda June 17, 2015 at 7:09 pm

    Brandy, my friend, I hope you don’t mind if I giggle a little bit that your plan sounds awesomely familiar. Songs…grammar…Henle…tutor. Hmmm. 😉 I do wish you could join us!! Maybe when we get a hefty group of high schoolers, it will cover your expenses, and you’ll have no excuse! <3

    • Reply Brandy Vencel June 18, 2015 at 9:15 pm

      Except that I am deeply attached to my curriculum. 🙂 But I do enjoy the similarities, Amanda! ♥

  • Reply Ann-Marie June 17, 2015 at 1:46 pm

    Oh we LOVE Latin! We all took it together this past year and loved it so very much! Wish I had taken it in high school instead of the three years of French I took. We did SS Latin for my little one and LFC primer A for the rest of us. Next year we are going to continue with LFC as well. The kids love it as much as I do and I love how much they learn about everything else with Latin {grammar, vocab, history etc}. Did I mention that I love Latin? Sad though that they have almost removed it from the public and private school systems 🙁 Not surprising, but, still sad.

    • Reply Tristan June 17, 2015 at 1:48 pm

      Ann-Marie – what ages have you got working together on Latin for Children A? I’m curious. I wanted to combine my oldest with the 4th and 5th grader but just thought it would be too easy for a 9th grader – and not enough to count for a high school foreign language credit. Thoughts?

      • Reply Ann-Marie June 18, 2015 at 4:05 am

        Not too sure about counting for high school transcript, but, would refer you to CAP’s website for those particulars. My boys are 13, 11 and 8 and for the most part it is a challenging and engaging course. The kids love Dr. Perrin and have learned SO much! My oldest loves it the best. I believe CAP does have a few articles addressing your concerns and if not, please get in touch with them. I have had numerous contacts with them, as well as a chat with Dr. Perrin himself and they have all been incredibly helpful! Wish I had known about them years ago! Hope that helps a bit, Tristan 🙂

    • Reply Brandy Vencel June 18, 2015 at 9:15 pm

      I know. The removal from the public schools IS sad. I’ve been reading about it in Diane Ravitch’s book Left Back, and it seems that the removal was really part of an overall rejection of the academic curriculum.

  • Reply Tristan June 17, 2015 at 9:51 am

    This was fun to read as we’re wading into the Latin waters this fall with all my children. I took 3 years of Latin in high school so I’m comfortable with the language but what I’m trying to figure out is how to balance time for teaching all the kids. (I have 8 kids age 14-1 and am due with #9 this fall).

    We ended up choosing Song School Latin for the younger elementary kids (1st and 2nd, and the preschoolers can watch dvds/listen for fun if they wish), Latin for Children A for the upper elementary two (4th and 5th), and Latin Alive for the oldest (9th).

    I’m planning to start reading through all 3 levels and watching dvds in a few weeks to get in my head how each program works. 😉 Should be fun!

    • Reply Brandy Vencel June 18, 2015 at 9:12 pm

      Oh, I envy you that you were able to take Latin in high school, Tristan! What a gift! I think your plan sounds really great. I have heard only good things about Latin for Children!

  • Reply Mariel June 17, 2015 at 8:53 am

    I bought the Song School Latin DVDs for my preschooler. (Not the workbook or anything, just the DVDs.) She loves them. She’s been calling me “mater,” and asking, “How do you say ___ in Latin?” And she likes it when I say sede and surge instead of sit and stand. 😉

    • Reply Brandy Vencel June 18, 2015 at 9:11 pm

      SO cute, Mariel! Love it! ♥

  • Reply Amy June 17, 2015 at 7:48 am

    Be sure to post an update on the Lingua Latina class. 🙂 My ‘language guy’ is the middle son, so I’m thinking about having both older boys do a LL class in a year or two – they’d be 12/13 and 15 by then, and have completed Visual Latin. The pace and amount of homework give me pause, but I think some experiences with a not-mom teaching them will be worthwhile. And I can eavesdrop!

    • Reply Brandy Vencel June 18, 2015 at 9:10 pm

      I will totally review the class at the end of the next year! If I fall in love with it, you’ll know early on. 😉

      • Reply Phyllis August 9, 2016 at 1:34 am

        Did you review it (and I missed it)? 🙂

  • Reply Tanya Stone June 17, 2015 at 7:21 am

    I’m with you on Spanish. When I was in Junior High, I really resented that it was my only foreign language choice, because I LOVED French, but it wasn’t offered until High School in my district. While we lived in Japan, I used a flash card set to teach my kids some Japanese, but we didn’t get far. Now that we live in San Diego, it’s kind of silly NOT to learn Spanish LOL. But like you, I wasn’t sure what to use. That’s why I was so excited when I found out about a Charlotte Mason language series from this website: They also offer French, but again, I had to be practical LOL. And you know what? We’ve had fun with it. Really. Also, Latin is great because all of those Latin languages share words–French, Italian, and Spanish. I’ve enjoyed being able to share my little knowledge of other languages to point that out to the kids this year, and next year we’ll be doing Latin roots with “English from the Roots Up” (this year we were doing the Greek portion) for group learning time. Plus, based on your and other recommendations, I’ll be having my oldest do Visual Latin. But anyway, if you want to go back and give Spanish another go sometime, check out that site. 🙂 It’s “Speaking Spanish with Miss Mason and Francois”. It’s worth it. I’ve even been teaching a friend’s daughter, and she’s enjoyed the time so much we’re going to continue next year (and she’s not a CM homeschooler).

    • Reply Brandy Vencel June 18, 2015 at 9:09 pm

      Okay, Tanya, I am embarrassed about this, but I’m going to tell you the truth anyhow: I actually BOUGHT Speaking Spanish with Miss Mason and Francois. That was the curriculum I dropped this year.

      Now I shall go hide in a hole. 🙁

      • Reply Anna June 19, 2015 at 4:51 am

        I’ll hide with you, Brandy – I bought the French version, but didn’t get far, sigh.

        • Reply Brandy Vencel June 19, 2015 at 10:12 am

          Well, at least we can be failures together. ♥

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